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Teary England look to the future
Alex Leach / 3 December 2012
England coach Ben Ryan insists his players can turn the tears and traumas of their last two tournaments into terrific triumphs over the remainder of this HSBC Sevens World Series.
Having been dethroned as the two-time Cup champions in Dubai with Friday’s pool-phase elimination, Ryan’s injury-hit personnel were left to contend for the Bowl or Shield in Saturday’s knockout rounds.
The Bowl escaped them as they lost 24-14 to eventual champions Argentina in the last eight, but two commanding victories thereafter over Australia (40-12) and Spain (26-5) saw England eventually emerge with the Shield prize overall.
That particular trophy presentation proved little more than a scant consolation for this Red Rose outfit though after a wretched weekend that had already seen bawling on the team bus.
“I had two emotions on Friday evening,” recalled Ryan, whose side finished as the Bowl runners-up to Spain in the prior competition in Australia.
“I was sad and down about the tournament, as were the players. I’ve got a 19-year-old kid that was crying all of the way back to the hotel that night. It means a lot to them and they’re the sorts of traits in players that – as a coach – you can do something with.
“In the modern, professional game, if you’ve got a kid there that it means that much to him, then that’s important. The second emotion I had was that I’m not looking at them and going: ‘They’re not good enough.’ I can see there’s talent there. It’s not the finished article, we are a performance team and we do need to win. I understand that.
“But, if you’re buffeted around by injuries and everything else, then these kids get thrown in and I thought they did pretty well.
“I said to them on Saturday: ‘Once we started winning, I think we’ll keep winning’ and let’s hope this is the start of a fresh page in this year’s tournament.”
Ryan can at least take heart from England’s determined displays against the Wallabies and the Spaniards as they gear up for South Africa this weekend and the other major competitions beyond.
“I’ve said to the lads that there are some really good moments ahead of them. We’ve got a World Cup that we plan on winning and big tournaments ahead of us,” he added.
“It’s all about improving. We’re all about just making sure that I have a good week next week with the team; we train well, get our spirits up and go out there and put performances in that we can be proud of.
“The players understand that this is all about getting back as quickly as they can and there is no time to wallow around now.”
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